Monday, August 24, 2015

Non-Linear Selfi

Non-Linear Selfi

Eternity: all at once, no sequence
or consequence--the “now” of be-
here-now. Size makes no never
mind  nor is it about time and
time again. Simultaneous.

I accused my preacher dad of having a
monumental ego. “Yes, I do,” he said,
“but mine’s crucified.” Consummation
devoutly desired, no doubt. Dead, buried,
resurrected, born again & again.

On the psychiatric ward, after a shot
of thorazine to calm my mania, I lost
ability to speak for three days—no
mumbling words. Helen Kelleresque
if you don’t count sight and hearing.

Oh dear God!  is what I still say soon
as my head hits the pillow. Prayer:
from Latin precari – precarious.
Please let me make my parents proud
is what I’d pray in middle school. And
for an English bike, too, 3 speeds.
That would be good.

Yesterday pre-dusk saw a couple deer
cross College View toward Jones  Mt.
Last night I crapped my pants trying
to  make it to the john.  Antibiotic my
wife  suggests—side-effect. Reasons why.  
A screech owl quavering last couple of
mornings as I get out of bed.

“Come and See” were the bible words
that provoked my old man into being
Christian. His calling. Came to him at
a student bible study group led by “Rip”
 Van Winkle, provocateur: one  of his 
English pupils at Exeter

Years later: Rip’s daughter, Annie
Van Winkle at Oxford  School for
Girls in West Hartford, Connecticut:
O dear God.

Miles Standish would provide the
answers to our 10th grade math tests,
him being smart and taking the
exams in 4th period right before my
5th.   Called him “Dish.”

When we  moved from Johnstown,
PA  to West Hartford CT:  peanut
butter and marshmallow sandwiches
were what 6th graders ate.  First day
ever in a school cafeteria, someone
asked me to smell my cake and
pushed my nose in it.

We bought industrial staples and
heavy-duty  rubber bands and shot
the street lights out of Linden Avenue.

Got into Yale on a legacy. Into
Duke with a handshake.
Privilege. Entitlement.
Hierarchy. Hegemony.

In the 40’s, my mother and the
Johnstown Presbyterian church
ladies boxed clothes to send to
boys at Farm School down in the
Blue Ridge. My Nana, played
upright piano  at the drunk and
homeless shelter accompanying
my old man’s Sunday supper
sermons.  “Brighten the Corner
Where You Are.”  “Jesus wants me
for His Sunbeam.”

Teaching a class at NC State, I
began to weep while reading
“Self Reliance” to them.  Sniffing
and snuffling the rest of the period.
Should have dismissed class but
made them witness my cognitive
and affective dissonance. Already

Me and my old man climbed Mt.
Pisgah together—looking East at

My first day ever  as teacher ( 7th
grade at Buckingham Friends
School)  one of the mothers walked
in looking for who’s-in-charge. Me,
I said. Her: “I thought you were one
of the students.”

I quit dean-ing and then had my
first panic attack. It suffers in
translation. To die for. Chrono-
logic on the one hand. Eternity

on the other. 



    Luther gets a square in Rome for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

    His father was terribly unhappy when he joined the monastery. He was smart enough to become something and his father had spent oodles of money on his books of law. But the interest in his son's education was not for naught. No privilege involved, however. Wittenberg University was brand new and Luther's father was in mining with the fortune going up and down.

    Nevertheless, when I read Emerson speaking about great, forceful and earnest individuals, and mention Luther among them, I feel like Emerson did not get the point. You don't go out to be great. You don't go out to be self-reliant.

    These things happen. You have got to be the right person in the right place with the right stuff happening and your heart in the right place. The most unlikely and humble people have made the right things happen. It does take courage. Courage, heart, is the thing, not self-reliance... Fear not. Little flock.

    1. I'll keep that in mind. We're reading Emerson at the moment--discussed Self Reliance in class yesterday.

  2. "As James Davidson Hunter notes, the emphasis on potent individuals over enduring institutions tend to incline Evangelicals to a great man theory of political engagement." Ross Douthat. Bad Religion, p. 140.

    Got my husband that book (or ahem for myself).

    In a way a catechism is more individualistic, as it draws your attention to your own behaviours and responsibilities.

  3. Enduring institutions are intergenerational.

  4. Read Ross Douhat in one sitting. "Bad Religion. How we became a nation of heretics." He examines the American situation from useful angles. American heresies: prosperity gospel, god-in-me Oprah gospel, nationalism. Emerson he calls a "warm metaphysical bath."

  5. He would like Christians to rise above the fray of Republican vs. Democrat and work towards just goals within the party they feel more affinity for.

  6. We have Music Symposium this weekend focusing on international music with movement and percussion and without books or sheets. Fun, fun, fun, but what goes as hymns is Christless. The most we get is Halleluiah here and there. The poetry is evocative, and you can think yourself into it, but it still feel like a betrayal. But I will learn as much as I can from the conductor. Off now and out of your hair....

  7. There was one song among dozens that spoke about the blood of Christ. Even then she framed that saying that one needs to try and fit with the "idiom" of the local congregation. This is the World Council of churches stamp of approval. Vague and flexible. "Betrayal" is too strong? As Douhat says: when you go "pan"-everything you are not passing things on.

  8. I took Auden out of the library. Everybody likes him. Brodsky adored him and Douhat brings him in as a specimen of a certain Christian age, now past. I learned a word from Douhat. Christianity is at the moment "déclassé".

  9. (Only one song out of the dozens.)

  10. Too many pious goodies profaning the name? Don't know Douhat. You can imagine how "blood of Christ" might sound to any not raised in the tradition. Auden was gay, by the way. "How can we wait without idols?

  11. His lover left him. Great misery.
    He wrote a book on Harvard Privilege, too. I ordered a used copy. I first came across him being interviewed by some popular show host in a YouTube video.

    Started the Auden last night. The individual stands for the universal. Seemed quite navel gazing so far. How can I read any poetry without Brodsky holding my hand?

  12. I can see he is something of a virtuoso. He also changed his mind on a few things over his lifetime.

    Marriage is the big issue for him, but he could not get constancy from his male lovers. It reminds you of Van Gough who always drew couples and yearned for a stable relationship.

    In the last poem, in the book, he muses about myth and history. He thinks that myths were to people only excuses for ritual, most of them good, some bad. The crucified would not want to have had people sacrificed for him.

    He has a thing for music, opera and grand emotion. much of it is outlandish, but that is great.

    I quite love it myself finding it quite cathartic. The requiems, too, are a fabulous mind/body release. They should be sung and performed, not merely listened to.

    To me marriage and fidelity overall are central topics for life and philosophy. And art. And converse action...

    Imagination plays second to those real world concerns. Agape before Eros.

    I think that is all the Auden I will do for now.

  13. With that emphasis on reality, however, the Internet says that he viewed Bible story as "myth", the way you would define it.

    It makes no sense to me gloss over all the distinctions in the genres in the Bible collection and simply call it "myth".

  14. In fact, the whole point of distinction made through archeology, and so on, is lost, when you call everything simply "myth". Seems extraordinarily intellectually dishonest to me.

  15. You are taking myth in the common sense--which generally sees it as unreal and like fiction. Originally myth is the word for our highest and fullest representation of reality (mythos) and ritual was the word for our actions, habits, physical response to mythos--worship, protocol, how we accommodate ourselves to the whole.

  16. Was the Romans conquering Palestine "myth"? Was the Caesar having himself celebrated "mythos"? For example? No. Romans conquering is fact. Caesar celebrating is a parade.

  17. Christ crucified is a fact. The story propagated and celebrated all over the Roman Empire was newsflash. It's self-understanding is nothing mythical.


    Pretty fluid all that about myth.

  19. The significance and meaning of history and fact = mythos.

  20. The not wanting to know how history hangs together=postmodern.

  21. Postmodern is a descriptive term for most. A pejorative term for many. Myth,too: the same. How history hangs together depends on the historians and mythologizers who frame it in accord with their outlook.

  22. CBC re leased its long list of 30 yesterday. I am not on it. The people and their stories look very interesting and accomplished, but it looks like they won't publish them all.

    Do you think that means I can publish my story myself now? They did not even send an e-mail.


  24. Don't quit your day job. Don't quit your spouse.

  25. Just walked out of a class on Emerson--his American Scholar and Divinity School Address. No inclination to quit my day job. Unpostponed joy. Ann's my hero--so far so good.

  26. No doubt, she has been tremendous. She and I could probably compare notes on dealing with mad genius type husbands. Anyways, that's what I tell my husband what he is and that sums it up pretty well. Can't live with them, nor without them. The name of the Lord be praised.

  27. This fall he has grad students in hospital dentistry.

  28. 4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:

    “When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
    9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

    14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

    Instructions for Christian Living
    17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

    20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

    29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  29. You know how I love big block quotes--being preached too when not solicited, Put this on a t-shirt and broadcast your piety.s

  30. It was today's reading. It hit the spot for me.

  31. Is it the opposite of the famed raised consciousness?

  32. Like lighting a match (lucifer) in a cave to study darkness.

  33. Let Ares doze, that other war
    Is instantly declared once more
    'Twixt those who follow
    Precocious Hermes all the way
    And those who without qualms obey
    Pompous Apollo.

    Brutal like all Olympic games,
    Though fought with smiles and Christian names
    And less dramatic,
    This dialectic strife between
    The civil gods is just as mean,
    And more fanatic.

  34. Charged with his compound of sensational
    Sex plus some undenominational
    Religious matter,
    Enormous novels by co-eds
    Rain down on our defenceless heads
    Till our teeth chatter.

    In fake Hermetic uniforms
    Behind our battle-line, in swarms
    That keep alighting,
    His existentialists declare
    That they are in complete despair,
    Yet go on writing.

  35. Impressive verse. Yours, yes? Good vs evil and I'm always on the side of good against evil. Imagine choosing identifing with the side of evil against good. "No man does wrong knowingly, " says Socrates. A satan is an accuser. Aren't we all?

  36. Auden. Auden. Auden. Nice stanza type, what do you call it.

  37. "Under which Lyre", at Harvard. Very witty.

  38. "How can we live without Idols?"--my favorite Auden notion, though I can't say where
    it's from

  39. Da dum da dum da dum da dum
    Da dum da dum da dum da dum
    Da da da da da.

  40. Did not see anything snout idols, yet.

  41. It is the male ego, that is ever striking, in the poets.

  42. What's stopping you? (Give you credit for the dum de dum--your own words rather than someone else's.)i

  43. The Sam, he is, oh, such a hit.
    He does not trouble us a bit.
    His view is Pollyanna.

    All the idols he deplores
    They are to him nothing but bores.
    He must be in nirvana.

  44. The third lines are seven instead of five.

  45. There--was that so hard? What would I do without my idols? They light up my life--illuminate, so bright I can't see for seeing.

  46. What women would you suggest? Not the super introverted ones.

  47. I might be the first to rhyme Pollyanna with Nirvana. See poet's ego is kicking in already.

  48. Susan Sontag: Against Interpretation.

  49. We have talked about her already. I don't know what she wants.

  50. Maybe I will study Auden's schemes some more. He seems to know what he is exhibiting.

  51. Dorothy Sayers The Mind of the Maker

  52. Rhymes, meters, stanza forms, etc., are like servants. If the master is fair enough to win their affection and firm enough to command their respect, the result is an orderly happy household. If he is too tyrannical, they give notice; if he lacks authority, they become slovenly, impertinent, drunk and dishonest. (Auden)

    My interest is piqued, I think, because different meters gave different effect, and I am interested in the musicality and singing tone of it.

    If I could make something, it would be a simple song, that could be easily adapted to various kinds of performance, something a grandpa teaches to his grandchild, like mine did to me, in essence a kind of catechetical experience, as the head of the household teaches.


  54. Since Auden liked opera and librettos, maybe he was interested in the singability and the emotion suggested by the form, also.

  55. We all have this contrariness built in. Do we need to nurture it much?

    Quote. New book translation, came in my mail. Luther's Works 67.

    But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country," etc.

    This is a sweeping aphorism: that a prophet is without honor in His own country. It is all too true. John 1 says something similar: "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him." St.Paul, likewise, says, "They turn their hearing away from the truth" [ 2 Tim. 4:4]. And we see these horrifying signs in all the histories: that the Word of God is never so despised as where it is richly taught. Those who do not have it want it; those who have it despise it. Indeed, what is worse, heresies do not arise except amid the churches and from the churches. And this does not occur for any other reason except that they despise and disdain the Word, and then soon become judges over it. For if they did not disdain it, they would hear it in reverence and not stir up heresies.

    Therefore, let this be our consolation, that our word--or, rather, God's Word--is held in disdain by the very ones who are closest to us and that it is no wonder that it should be disdained, not only by the peasants and nobles, the ones who have quickly had their fill of it, but even by the learned and those of our own household (or our fellow bishops), who seek to cast us down from the mountain (cf. Luke 4:29] so long as we refuse to speak and do the things they want. Here it is a matter of "the prophet in his own country," and as Matthew quotes from Micah [7:6] in Matthew 10 [:36]: "A person's enemies will be those of his own household." However, on the other hand, it comforts us that Jesus "passing through their midst, went away" [Luke 4:30]. They are not going to bring things to an end and must leave the prophet alone.

    (Luther's Works, 67, p. 218. Annotations on Matthew.)

  56. Cutting edge will be Ridiculous to the savvy, offensive to the conscientious. Especially if close to home "Who does he think he is, anyway?"

  57. Look how he brings it all together and piles it up. He wrote so incredibly much. Maybe he was bipolar, too.

  58. Auden has a poem where Luther comes up, but it is a body function poem. The thinker pose is to him one like one passing some stool.

  59. Cotton Mather , early Puritan theologian, claimed to get his sermon inspiration while in outhouse.

    1. No doubt, it is a widespread experience, one I can't testify to.

  60. You probably would not find that sort of thing with the Romantics and Transcendentalists. It does not amuse me terribly much either.

    But who is a prophet and what is a prophecy--that has to be the question. He likely is rejected close to home and respected further afield. There is a clue. Other than that the cause has to be fair, just and loving, keeping peace and protecting the vulnerable from the strong and violent who might do them damage. He has to teach truthfully about God and what is good. This would likely include providing balancing views, as well as applying old insights to new situations.

    In Biblical ways, ultimately the Solution can only be brought about by God himself, as we find ourselves wholly incapable of changing ourselves. To this end the preaching of the Messiah, who is the one to carry this out. In him there is freedom and our efforts are entirely free, in him. The prophet, too, is only his messenger.

  61. Goodness, that man Cotton Mather had an eventful life. What terrible business with the witchcraft trials.

  62. Hawthorne's grandfather was one of the trial judges.

  63. Jesus always treated women with kindness and moderation. And taught the the value of the word. You have to love him for that.

  64. Meek and Mild, wouldn't he be fun on a road trip?. Or a member of the band. I put him on my dashboard to bobble with kindness and moderation...Jesus o Jesus what a friend I have in Jesus..

  65. Him we still adore while Plato sits under the bench. The philosopher king sounds like a nightmare.

  66. Xanthippe was right to dump the night pot on Socrates' head. I give her thumbs up. Way to go girl.

  67. I have come full circle on her. She is my new heroine.

  68. Go on a road trip with Plato, he will sell you to ISIS for breeding purposes.

  69. Him you still adore--o come let us adore him. Why would Plato sell anyone for breeding purposes? What Would Jesus Do? Kind and meek and mild? The power of a foreskin!

  70. The Guardians will even have their families in common. Children will be raised in common and will not know who their real parents are. These children will also not be randomly conceived. They will be bred deliberately to produce the best offspring, as though the Guardians were a pack of hunting dogs. Even Plato realizes that such cold blooded match making might be too much for the Guardians, so he proposes that the process be kept secret from most of them. Every year, after the breeding committee, or whatever, secretly makes its choices, there is to be a kind of fertility festival. Everyone chooses names by lot, and the name they draw, or no name, is the choice of the gods for them. This is the kind of thing that Plato calls a "noble lie"; for the lottery is to be rigged by the breeding committee. Everyone will actually draw the name designated for them; and those who draw a blank were simply thought undesirable for offspring. The idea that people should be bred just like animals is usually called "eugenics" (eu, "well," and gignomai, "come into being" or "born") and was popular early in this century; but the only regime that has tried to formally implement eugenics was Nazi Germany. So it is not surprising that Plato thought this should all be kept secret.

  71. Project Lebensborn. My older aunts might have been forced into it by they were classified "Mediterranean type", not Arian enough for breeding.

    My grandmothers however had special medals from Hitler for having many children.

  72. O H. M Y G O S H. -- I forgot the spiritual meaning!

  73. Ya, sure. Good one, though.

    I posted my story to the blog. See what you think of it, at your convenience.

    I have a year's of bookkeeping to do.

    Lovely weekend, though. We had a leisurely breakfast in the garden. The sun is so low, you have to keep it at your back.


  75. Fine. It's a fine story. "Just Fine?" my wife always says when I respond to inquires about the potatoes or soup or whatever the main plate. "Yes, fine, for crying out loud. What is it about fine you don't understand? " I don't correct and I don't grade. My motto for anyone: "Write Yr Ass Off." You'll get better and good. "Compose and Be Composed"--which is the best motive for writing.

  76. Most of the women friends I have shared it with talk about a similar experience. There are all the different ways men and salespeople come on to you. To me, most of all, it is the question of whether he knew or not that his village is mentioned I the Old Testament. To me it is possibly a post-post-modern question, if anyone knows what that is. There is also the question of when to complain and raise a stink and when not.

    But I tried to right from first person perspective and make it as "sassy", as a straight-laced old woman could make it.

  77. I write to express, show off, provoke, impress, criticize, be profound, oracular,--I think that covers it, my motive. Obsession. Compulsion. Why else?

  78. When my daughter married a childhood friend, I was glad. Some of us married from church youth groups. That was a nice, tightnit pool, too. Would you trust your daughter with Shalom? I would have to get to know him much, much better. I don't even know if the story about his dead friend is true, even though he looked so serious and sad.

    My dad was a salesman, also very dark in hair and skin tone, almost black in summer.

  79. My daughter Liz is 52, probably your age. Has had & has male friends galore and a 9 year marriage. When not qt her job with horses. She is a down hill biker and travels all over to ride and compete. Bunch of colorful guys are friends. Jon--the same. similar ladies bountiful Trust? Shalom, Salaam, Salem--the peace that passes understanding.

  80. He, too, was a kind of underprivileged refugee. He had nightmares when he first learned his métier, feeling shy. But he became very good and he married way up the social strata, from the youthgroup pool. He was a great husband and father. I probably idolize him too much. He was very warm though he never hugged or touched.

    Anyway, I should be off the computer. The bookkeeping is almost done.

  81. Liz and women like her amaze me. I have to force myself to physical activity.

  82. But that is not what you are saying to me. You are saying that they are serially monogamous or polyamorous. No?

    Is that sort of thing beyond good and evil, sad, happy, healthy, ill? Would you rather have your daughter on a road trip with Jesus or with Plato?

    Jesus had lots of women around, Plato not so much. Plato would not have had a woman on a road trip, I think. Those guys were more for the guys. Hm. But the ideal of beauty demanded polyamory.

  83. Jesus was more for the guys--all 12. Me: I 'd take Carl and Bror. We'd have a ball. Talk about 2nd coming and young earth and rapture. heaven and hell

  84. You meant serial monogamy and polyamory, then.

  85. If you will read your Bible, you will see that Jesus had many women friends. He had no selfish designs on them. He was not rude, oppressive and restrictive with them. He cursed them, looked after them, let them look after him, taught them, had Socratic dialogue with them, revealed himself the Messiah and the Ressurected one to them... He did not chase skirts or demand favours or submission. Very refreshing.

  86. Good for Jesus. Good for Brigitte. It's good to be refreshing and refreshed

  87. Yes, it is. Water in a thirsty land, goes one song.

  88. Those are the best relationships, where you can be completely unguarded.

    In German "unbefangen"-- not caged, innocent.

  89. As Auden says reality, fidelity and agape are the thing, sexually messed up as he may have been. But he has to go back to the library now.

  90. Auden may have felt it most keenly Because of his messy love life.

    I liked him, and Brodsky and Frost, with their shortcomings.

  91. Women feel it most keenly because of their particular burdens and joys.

  92. The real need for real fidelity and real agape.

  93. Sex, of course is another thing. Sex is easy.

    When you slide on a wedding band you say: I pledge you my love and faithfulness. So much rigmarole because it is so important, so desired-- and so hard. Yet, you almost seem to jinx it by overdoing. A quick, simple, early ceremony is better. Just do it and get on with life. Sex is the easy part and yet we are somehow hung up on it.

    As Luther said and did: just get out and get married. And pray for a good spouse before. He was not praying though, maybe. He was proposed to. See, there was a smart woman. Katie von Bora was an intrepid soul.

  94. Auden was a moralist who drank too much, a homosexual who thought homosexuality wicked, a subversive who chose to write in pedantically traditional verse forms, an eccentric opposed to the romantic theory of personality, a man obsessively punctual, sartorially sloppy. As a literary subject he is a gift to a biographer, a walking illustration, like Johnson, of Montaigne's observation: ''We are ... double in ourselves, so that we believe what we disbelieve, and cannot rid ourselves of what we condemn.'' ''The Double Man'' is one of Auden's book titles. Limestone he singled out for praise in a poem because, as Mr. Carpenter notes, it ''produces a landscape which is as inconsistent and secret as the human personality.'' Auden's shifting and often inconsistent dogmatisms (''No gentleman can fail to admire Bellini'') are, like Johnson's, those of the orator who must constantly say interesting things in public.

  95. From here.

  96. I try and try to say interesting things in public--or at least in class and Facebook

    1. You do. You are a ham. You make me laugh.

    2. No, you drive me crazy. Hm. Which is it really.

  97. Since the scandal surrounding British poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, homosexuality has claimed no literary figure more prominent than the 20th-century Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973). However, after considerable personal experience, Auden delivered a remarkably negative judgment on this kind of sexual activity. According to a newly published critical study, Auden made decidedly negative comments about homosexuality during a 1947 conversation with Alan Ansen: "I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s wrong to be queer, but that’s a long story. Oh, the reasons are comparatively simple. In the first place, all homosexual acts are acts of envy. In the second, the more you’re involved with someone, the more trouble arises, and affection shouldn’t result in that. It shows something’s wrong somewhere." Nor did Auden’s perspective on homosexuality grow more favorable in the years that followed. In 1969, just four years before his death, Auden wrote candidly, "Few, if any, homosexuals can honestly boast that their sex-life has been happy." - See more at:

  98. As Tolstoy said: happy families are not interesting.

  99. Are there happy families? They are happy in the same ways, he said. What did he mean?

  100. I don't know. HAP happens. If I like it: happy. .

  101. Here is a question I have been pondering: your answers and replies quite often seem to come out of a Rolodex, and it could just as well be anyone posting a haphazard response, and still they are writing prompts. How does that work.

    I have to go to work, but am still sitting in PJ's with coffee. Douthat's book on Harvard privilege came. On the weekend we have to drive far for a funeral. Martin's old aunt and uncle were in a car accident. One dead, one in coma with fractures... The German relatives are flying in... They all fled the Russians once on horse drawn wagon, together, in winter...

  102. Sorry about your relatives" accident. Hope the reunion is good.

  103. I translated the story of the flight, written down by one of the aunts, if you ever want to read it--amateur biography. It is a little confusing with the frame story of their trip to Poland in later years, but I thought it was gripping.

    Thanks for the good wishes. The funeral will be alright with lots of great hymns, well sung and played. The only worry is that we have more elderly travelling.

  104. I will look for a hard copy. For things that matter, I still like a book in my hand and even read out loud. It makes a profound difference to me. Strange.

    We talk on-line like this, but it is live. To bring an old story to life it needs to be spoken out loud. Then I can be like you and break down and cry. That is not depression.

    It bothers me to no end when the Pastor does not do his Bible readings well. He can preach up a storm, but when he runs down the text, it has no texture. I could throttle him. Then there are readings in God-voice. They are awful, too, but I haven't heard that often.

    Listening to Auden and Brodsky reading their poems on YouTube, they are quite forceful but understated, almost a rocking chant, like at the wailing wall.

  105. If you don't want the clutter, I can send per computer.